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§Bard

The EQ bard is a very different beast from the EZ bard in many ways, but in others it’s a familiar old friend. Bards on EZ add a ton to a raid or group, and after some work and spent resource they are respectable dps! A lot of people will debate back and forth bard vs chanter for the best support class, but why bother when you can run both?

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Adding a bard to a team may be one of the best things you can do, especially early on. A lot of players don’t realize this because they measure the character’s worth solely on what they add individually, NOT as a team. When you start adding up mana/end regen (and to the raid, not just to the group with the later songs), the damage they add with damage shields, crit increases, spell damage bonuses, offensive procs (though the melee speed changes gutted how much damage this added, it’s still extra dps) and more the bard is an obvious choice for a raid team.

§FG or CG

Bards start with FG, though some seem to believe they benefit more from CG. Yes, bards use mana but not the same way other classes do….and they do not benefit at all from the increased caster skills you get in the CG. And yes, bards can use the Master’s Ring, but the pet doesn’t do that much. Bards benefit far more from FG.

§AA

Bards use a combination of melee and song AA as their primaries. It’s suggested that initially they follow the normal AA priority: max run speed, max planar power, max combat agility and stability, mystical attuning, discordant defiance and max lung capacity. Since you have a spell bar you will want mnemonic retention for the extra bar slot.  Since you will rely on procs you want weapon affinity. After that you’ll want to specifically target anything that helps melee or that helps with songs:

  • Combat Fury
  • Fury of Magic
  • Internal Metronome
  • Spell Casting Fury
  • Spell Casting Subtlety
  • Ambidexterity
  • Ayonae’s Tutelage
  • Extended Notes
  • Fading Memories
  • Fleet of Foot
  • Harmonious Attack
  • Instrument Mastery
  • Jam Fest
  • Physical Enhancement
  • Singing Mastery
  • Sionachie’s Crescendo

After these look at what each AA does and get in the order you desire.

§Augs, charms, Songs

Bards are best suited to use sorcerer’s charms before UC. You will want to eventually add ninjastrike augs to a bard, and therefor add a UC….but you will want to make any other NS melee class a priority. NS and UC a bard AFTER your other dual wield dps, because their melee skills are inferior to any other such class.

As far as songs go there are many different possibilities, and they change as you progress. You will definitely want to keep the epic click going, whether it’s from twist (allowed JUST on this class) or from a direct click. Some songs that help:

At level 69 you get Chorus of Life. Start with this for health and mana regen. A bit later (t3) you get Bashful Crustaceans Chorus of Rebirth, which is a huge upgrade. Keep this song going! Even with epic click (which is a huge mana/end regen). Chorus of the Risen 1 and 2 drop later, and further improve this regen.

Before you start finding custom songs another couple spells that can help are Ancient Call to Power, which increases spell damage, as well as some song haste (which has negligible effect here), and War March of the Muram, which is extra damage shield, some haste but also some attack. This can make a difference! Another spell that adds to the damage shield is Psalm of Veeshan, a level 69 song that also adds to resists (but not over cap) and AC. Good song when starting! Later, as you progress, Nillipus’ Stampede of the Wee adds not only to AC (substantially) but also adds a 20% limited mitigation (base 10K hps absorbed then it fades).

In terms of added offensive power, the storm blade song is a good one to start with (level 69). It adds a proc to melee in group. As you progress the Tempest Blade upgrade adds substantially more proc, til TBIV in T8. Solid add to dps especially if you have a lot of melee and pets in group.

Elemental A Cappella drops in CT, with an upgraded version in T5, and increases your magic, fire and cold resists over cap. On the opposite side, the song Harmonious Composition will decrease a mobs resists considerably, AND increase the spell/proc damage they take as well. But one note on this song: if you twist this and move to another zone, say one with Hateborne’s “guardians” at zone in, you will agro then and kill your bard. So you may want to set up a hotkey that’s /bct //twist off then another that starts twist if you run these debuff songs.